Major corporations can spend six figures on hiring, while the best applicant's resume could end up in the trash. Companies using data, analytics and even games, however, may be getting closer to finding the right fit for their firms in less time than their competitors.
One neuroscience-based applicant screening system is Pymetrics, which subjects job seekers to a series of one- to three-minute games meant to match them up with positions suitable to their skills, values and mindsets.
The games are an upgrade from the classic Myers-Briggs questionnaire, developed in the 1940s, according to Frida Polli, Pymetrics founder and MIT-trained neuroscientist.
"We're not still using rotary phones, operators are not plugging things in manually, right? So we've moved on from 1940s technology in a lot of other areas," Polli said in an interview with CNBC.
Pymetrics uses existing games that are about 10 to 20 years old. So they're not antiquated, but they're old enough to be proven reliable, Polli said.
They measure things like applicants' willingness to take risks, their skepticism, motivations and flexibility. They're used to screen job applicants before they make it to the interview chair, in an attempt to save time and resources spent on sifting through resumes, interviewing and hiring, according to Polli.
Pymetrics was founded in 2012 around the same time as a few of its competitors, including Prophecy Sciences, a firm that has since merged with Lumo Labs, the maker of Luminosity brain-training games.
Polli said Pymetrics has found that 10 hours spent on the hiring process, whether it's resume screening or interviewing, could be reduced to one hour.
And call them fun or frustrating, the games are part of a system that's hard to beat.
"There were certain [games] where you do know what they're trying to measure, but there's no way to like 'game' the game, if that makes sense," said Meryl Gibbs, an MIT grad who used Pymetrics to find an internship.
There's a certain level of anonymity that job-seekers may unknowingly benefit from. Since user names and faces don't come up during the Pymetrics screening process, companies can access a more diverse pool of applicants, which many firms have been increasingly targeting, Polli said.
"We don't know their gender, we don't know their ethnic background. So as opposed to a resume where some of those cues are often right there … our platform is really like blind auditions for orchestras," she said.